Earthquake Flare Up
Last updated 8/21/2020 at 11:25am
The Salton Sea was hit by a large number of earthquakes, with the strongest being a magnitude 4.6 on Aug. 10. This area is one of the most seismically active in California.
The first set of quakes happened at 1:39 a.m. Most were weak, ranging from 2.0 to 4.0, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. These minor quakes centered about eight miles from the southern end of the San Andreas Fault.
The largest quake occurred at 8:56 a.m. a magnitude-4.6 and a depth of seven miles, about 63 miles northwest of Palm Springs, but was not widely felt. This was after another series of quakes that began at 6:33 a.m. with a magnitude-3.2.
These swarms of earthquakes remain active for up to 20 days. These should decrease, but USGS says there is also a 19 percent chance that a larger earthquake between 5.5 and 6.9 could occur.
Scientists are monitoring the area much more closely, due to it being centered at the southern tip of the San Andreas Fault. There is concern that the swarm could trigger a larger quake, a phenomenon that has occurred here in the past.
The last three similar swarms – in 2001, 2009 and 2016 – didn’t result in a larger catastrophic quake.
It is only the fourth time in the 88 years of modern records that such a swarm has occurred in the Salton Sea area.
The quake sequence was about 7.5 miles away from the fault’s southern reach, seismologist Lucy Jones said in an article by the Los Angeles Times.
“It is probably too far away to trigger a larger one on the San Andreas, but not too far away that you say it’s impossible,” Jones said.
Even if you can’t feel the small earthquakes, you never know when the “Big One” is going to strike.
Parts of Imperial, Riverside and San Diego counties felt the quakes.
There were no reports of injuries or serious damage in the region.